Healthcare: Beyond the Doctor’s Office

What are antimicrobials? Antimicrobial products kill or slow the spread of microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoans. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulate antimicrobials as products. As pesticides, they are used on toys, countertops, and hospital equipment. As antiseptics, antimicrobial products are used to treat and prevent disease in humans, animals, and other living organisms. Today, they were the topic of the World Health Organization.

A delegate from Belarus articulated that “Through extensive use of antimicrobial antibiotics in both developed and undeveloped countries, and specifically the abuse of antibiotics in undeveloped countries, many viruses and infections have been able to evolve and combat the antibiotics.” and added that “…essentially years and years of research went down the drain.” He went on to explain that though the solution seemed rather simple, the amount of time needed for proper research and funding is enormous, and health regulations restrict the way scientists are able to develop new products that can handle the ever evolving and resistant superbugs.

Most notable, is the discrepancy between economically developed and poorer nations. Countries like the United States, China, and the United Kingdom have the funding and laboratory facilities to research new antimicrobial drugs and antibiotics. Places like Belarus do not.

Instead, this information is vital to agricultural nations due to the fact that many antibiotics and antimicrobials are used in livestock, especially in undeveloped countries, to prevent diseases and infections. Ideally these would be eradicated to prevent bugs from developing to resist diseases and infections in cows and other livestock.

Furthermore, the use of antimicrobial products is unknown throughout much of the world. Many blocs vowed to bring awareness, innovation, and surveillance. Particularly in developing nations where there is not solid infrastructure to transport or share information like this, the use of education outreach becomes absolutely vital.

For now, the ways of dealing with this resistance are still unknown, but delegates in WHO remain hard at work to create solutions. It is likely that working papers will merge by the end of the evening or the early morning, bringing in a wave of resolutions to combat this crisis.

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